A 1-0 victory over Paraguay was both satisfactory and deflatory. Three points were garnered as excessive optimism, epitomised by the flag-bearing masses who have turned England into a mosaic of Union Jacks, was fuelled further by the ideal start given them by a combination of David Beckham and Carlos Gamarra.
A second goal could have been scored though, while the Germans excelled at long-range shooting with the much-debated World Cup ball, England surpassed themselves at lifting it into the Frankfurt orbit but it would have been undeserved. There must be a few more balls above Europe along with Southgate's and Beckham's penalties.
Listless and off the pace, Michael Owen performance made a mockery of the first half of Eriksson's assessment "I think he did well and will get better and better", though it is hard to dispute the latter, if only because it must rank among the poorest displays in his 78 caps.
And as match fitness proves elusive for Owen, Eriksson's faith is starting to look blind. Alternatives, briefly tested and swiftly discarded, languish at home. Where is Defoe? Where is Shaun Wright-Phillips?
Oh yes, this was a tale of two Owens. Michael Owen off Owen Hargreaves on, who it must be said symbolises a metaphorical punchbag for Sven's critics. Old habits, and all that.
Gamarra (og 3)